Monday, July 30, 2012

Karl's Sausage Kitchen: Auf Wiedersehen to Route 1 in Saugus

For those who haven't heard, Route 1 in Saugus is about to lose an icon. Karl's Sausage Kitchen, which I've spoken about many a time on this blog, is going to move from its current location on that gaudy stretch of highway in northeast Massachusetts to a larger space in Peabody. Not that I need any excuse to go purchase and gorge on German delicacies, but I did want to make a trip before the store closed for a bit over a week to transfer the business over to their new digs. I've heard tell on the interwebs that the location in Peabody is going to not only be a bit bigger, but will include an area that will serve as a small cafe, with sausages and other fare, as well as a selection of European beer and wine. I look forward to seeing the new store, but before I do, I think we should say a proper goodbye to the tiny space that housed big flavor. My friends, here's a little tour of Karl's Sausage Kitchen as we knew it on Route 1 in Saugus.

The current small storefront of Karl's is only about 700 square feet long. All walls of the space are covered with an unbelievable array of chocolates, gummy bears, mustards, red cabbage, sauerkraut, instant knödel, curry ketchup, pickles, cookies, jams, marzipan, sparkling non-alcholic beverages, stocks, sauce mixes, tea, gravy mixes, red cabbage (did I already say that?) and so on and so forth. The dry goods, canned foods, and lovely snacks that they stock on every inch of empty shelf space is amazing, as if you took every item that a German grandma might think of on any given day that is difficult to get in this country, and just stacked them on shelves upon shelves for her personal utter delight. Let's take a little look.
Niederegger marzipan from Lübeck, Haribo gummy bears, German chocolates and Swiss chocolates upon chocolates and more chocolates. They even have salty liquorice known as salmiakki to my Finnish friends... they love it... I think it's nasty. But to each his own, it might grow on me one day.
Shelves stocked with all those secret ingredients... gravy mixes, and boullion cubes, special stocks, and then other flavorings specific to certain regions of Germany and Scandanavia. You'll see all those boxes of the delicious potato dumplings known as knödel near the bottom of the photo, and then there's apple sauce and jars of red cabbage. All amazing, I assure you.
Moving on to the meat and cheeses case...
The cheese case has a wonderful and unique array of of dairy delights. From butterkäse, both nutty and mellow to Moosbacher from Austria which has a buttery, barnyard-tangy taste, while staying somewhat akin to the flavors and appearance of Swiss cheese. Usually they'll have a little cutting board with some of their more popular or unusual cheeses available to sample. Today after tasting the Moosebacher and smoked gouda, we decided on a bit of the former. So tasty.
Liverwurst! Produced in house and available in both coarse grind and finer grind varieties. This minerally, earthy treat is also available imported and smoked from Europe.
Sausages! Again, made in house in the large kitchen located behind the little store front. You can find baeurwurst, coarse bratwurst, Polish kielbasa, smoked Italian sausage, smoked bratwurst, blutwurst, Polish blutwurst (with barley), and weisswurst. I've never been disappointed with their highly specialized variety of sausages, so savory, and all with the wonderful snap of a natural casing after being cooked. 
Hams and beautiful schinkenspeck, salty and sweet, including those wonderful Black Forest Hams that can melt in your mouth. There are salamis, and smoked pork chops, and multiple varieties of sour and sweet head cheese, all amazing and worth splurging an extra few dollars so that your lunch the next day can be extra special. 
So we went home, happy with our wares, and well informed on where the new location would be. Dinner tonight included some lovely blutwurst, crisp on the outside, smoked bratwurst, and your classic bauernwurst.
And for lunch tomorrow, a sandwich of Karl's smoked bacon, tart Lodi apples (a slightly acidic, early summer variety good for pies or pairing with salty charcuterie, and jagdschnitten, a rustic, slightly sour rye bread. 

Boy what a trip to Karl's. I hope that their new location is just as wonderful as the old.
Happy and safe travels, guys.

142 Broadway
Saugus, MA 01906

1 Bourbon Street
Peabody, MA

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